Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Curd Noodles

As I was innocently Facebooking along one evening, Somebody in the Chennai Food Guide, Someone Genius (!!) has planted this bug in my head, for curd vermicelli. On the One occasion I spent time in Chennai I did taste the curd rice, but it just seemed too challenging to take in "ON" in my own kitchen in Europe. It all seemed too weird (curd, rice, spices, what...?)
 The refreshing taste of this curd rice  has been lingering in the back of my head for years. And after MORE years, I can proudly say I have matured to give it a try. All by myself. Yes. And now a little embarrassed because actually it is very easy to prepare.

So first I started frying gently in a good spoonful of organic butter: some Cashew nuts (100 grams), and a whole finely sliced red onion. I was ever so patient with it, did not want to mess it up.Especially after all these years getting ready for it.  So, this lasted on-sometimes medium, sometime low-about 15 minutes.   I will post a Video about this " High and Low" at the end of this blog. Just because it will make you remember as you do it.

So here is the shot after (about) 15 minutes:
  So, at this stage, I have added FIVE green Cardamom pods, FIVE cloves,  Half a teaspoon of Turmeric, Half Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon (YES< CINNAMON!!), and Half Teaspoon of Cayenne pepper, along with finely chopped Ginger.
I have let them release their aroma on a very gentle -almost non existent-heat for few minutes.
During which time I have boiled the "noodles". I picked angel hair egg pasta, because someone in my family absolutely HATES Vermicelli. So I cooked the pasta 2 minutes less than advised on package, drained it, leaving a cupful of hot water from the boiling. Both of which were mixed in that mixture I have been gently simmering. The Pasta finished cooking itself here for the remaining two minutes, in these fantastic aromatic juices.
At this stage I added some chopped raw prawns, a GOOD cupful of curd , half a cup of Yogurt, six Green Chilies and let it simmer for further 2 minutes. There should be plenty of paste juice for this, please do not be scabby. They will suck it all up, those little noodles.
When I had a feeling everything has come to a right time, I squeezed half a lime on the top of everything, added very finely chopped spring onions, fresh Coriander, Fresh Mint leaves to it, and covered it up for two more minutes before serving.
You may think after all the rambling that this took forever to prepare, but it was actually less than 45 minutes from start to finish.
AND... I may have thought that putting curd in our food is weird. But actually in Italian cooking we also use a lot of Ricotta (or Mozzarella) combined with all sorts of herbs (in Raviolis), Or real Cream in many of the sauces that go well with Pasta. So, if you have run out of Ideas of Enjoying Pasta or Rice, this is something direction you could venture in.  And can chose your own ingredients for it (GMO, non-GMO, Low fat Curd, High fat Curd, Soygurt, etc.), It is really all in your hands.
 This is NOT just noodles with stuff on it. The Aromatics in this dish will blow your mind. Not just while eating, but also while smelling the air as you are cooking it. Total comfort, I'm telling you.
The curd I used from German Shelves was called "Quark". But make sure you get the natural one, not the one with Fruit flavour!!!
Basically, you want to listen to this song ALMOST three times while you are sautéing your Onions and Cashews and while chopping ginger, chilies and spring onions.  Easy Peasy.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Turkish Koftes

They are really amazing when cooked over hot coals, of course. But I had to settle for the electric grill, and was still not disappointed.
A beautiful, refreshing way of cooking minced beef, when in need for a protein fix:)
Could also be mixed with lamb, or made out of pure lamb.

It is also very fast to prepare of you have a mini food processor.  The quantities below are for 1/2 Kilo of minced meat.

One clove of garlic, One small shallot, a pinch each of: Cumin, dried Oregano, Cayenne pepper, small handful of chopped flat leaf parsley (MUCH tastier than the curly variety), a Tablespoon of fresh chopped mint,  one teaspoon of salt and a splash of lime juice.

Zap things up, then work into the minced meat and form the patties to the shape you desire. Let the patties rest for few hours, covered, in the lower shelve of the fridge. Then either place under Medium/Hot Grill for 4 minutes each side, or pan fry in few drops of oil until beautifully caramelised.  Overcooking will make them dry out, so do keep an eye on them.